Cropped Gear and Bags


BMW 49-liter Top Case

Easily the single most expensive accessory at $921, I purchased my case from Hermy’s BMW in Pennsylvania. They were able to color match the top-half of the case for an additional $225. When completed, they keyed the lock to match my ignition key and shipped it to me for free. The case is hassle free, easily secured to the bike and locked, and it looks great.

BMW R1200RT Tank Bag

This bag comes with a base plate especially designed for the R1200RT and allows for rapid mounting and removal. The bag expands when needed, with a 20-liter total capacity, and comes with a waterproof main compartment. When expanded, my laptop in its case will fit inside, along with camera gear. This large tank bag retails for $362.

Side Case Accessories

The RT comes standard with color-matched side cases. I purchased a pair of Bestem Saddlebag liners from Amazon ($48/pr) to facilitate easier loading and unloading. I also bought reflective decals from Real Time Industries ($21/set) designed to fit the side cases. They reflect white at night, providing extra visibility, but match the color of the cases in daylight. Finally, to protect the side cases from damage should the bike fall over, I purchased and installed Wunderlich rear protection bars ($349/pr).


Adventure Designs Toolkit

Especially designed for the oil-cooled R1200RT, I purchased the Ultimate Compact toolkit from Adventure Designs to supplement the laughable kit supplied by BMW. Retail price is $300. I store the kit under the seat and have it with me at all times.

Tire Repair Items

For unexpected emergencies where AAA is not available, I purchased Stop & Go Pocket Tire Plugger Kit ($32) and the Cycle Pump Air Compressor ($100). I also carry a tire gauge ($22) from Longacre under the seat.

Jumper Cables

I found 8-foot heavy duty Yuasa jumper cables at Amazon for $23. They come with a storage bag. These are carried in one of the saddlebags.

Trauma Kit

I decided to carry a Trauma Kit versus a first aid kit. With a large quick clotting bandage and a stretch tourniquet, I felt I wanted to be prepared for the possibility of managing a severe injury until medical help arrives. ‘First Aid and Safety’ makes the specific kit I purchased for $40.



I purchased the Mountainsmith brand Morrison Tent ($130). This 2-person, 3-season tent has room enough for me and whatever gear I want inside the tent. It sets up and breaks down easily. The only thing I would change are the tent stakes, which bend if you’re not careful and are not significant enough to use in high winds. The fly comes standard, protects against rain and helps with warmth. I purchased a Morrison footprint to add another layer of water protection under the tent ($30).

Sleeping Bag

I chose a Nemo Rhythm sleeping bag rated at 25 degrees. This ‘hour-glass’ shaped bag provides extra room to sleep on my side with bent knees. Very welcome! For a camp pillow, I purchased the Nemo Fillo ($40) which combines memory foam and inflatable cells. It packs quite small when not in use.

Mattress Pad

I still use my Thermarest mattress pad from my college days. It is comfortable and provides a decent amount of insulation from the cold ground. A combination of memory foam and inflatable cells allows it to roll into a relatively small package that fits inside the top case, along with the sleeping bag and tent.

Cook Stove

On the road, I brought along ‘Mountain House’ dehydrated meals to eat while camping. These delicious meals are light to carry and easy to pack while being very tasty when rehydrated. Easily replenished, they are available at Target and Walmart stores everywhere. Knowing my ‘cooking’ was going to be limited  to boiling water, my priority in a stove was to simply boil water as quickly and efficiently as possible. I also wanted to avoid liquid fuel options.

While not the smallest, nor the least expensive, I decided to purchase the 1-liter MSR Reactor stove ($180). With a patented radiant head design, this stove will bring two cups of cold water to a boil in less than 2 minutes, under windy conditions.  Perfect for my needs. I also purchased an MSR universal canister stand ($15) for added stability. A single 8-ounce MSR gas canister that lasted the whole summer ($9). A simple mess kit rounds out my cooking gear.



On long adventures, I bring a 13-inch laptop, protected by a ‘Case Logic’ sculpted sleeve ($32), so I can update the blog as I travel. A 1-TB USB backup drive from WD helps protect the data on the laptop and is packed on these trips.


The DSLR I chose is a Canon Rebel T3, an inexpensive, older option but quite capable, with an 18-55mm image stabilized lens. A Case Logic neoprene holster protects the camera. I bring the Canon EF-S 55-250mm telephoto lens along for close-ups, protected by a Foto Tech neoprene bag. A GoPro Hero 3+ Silver and my iPhone round out photography-capable gear. To keep the photography gear charged, I bought a Anker 20,000 mAh USB battery, which can recharge everything except the laptop while on the road.


For navigation, I use a Garmin GPS unit that BMW provided at no cost when I purchased my bike. It is charged continually when in its mount. As part of the OEM package, it comes pre-programmed with the locations of hospitals and BMW dealerships. 🙂


Base Layer

I wear LD Comfort clothing as a base layer, most of the time. This two-layer material is tough enough to last for seasons, but it is expensive. The two-layer system works to keep skin dry. Combined with a textile jacket (not mesh), it can be used wetted to create an ‘evaporative cooling’ effect for hot weather riding. LD Comfort comes in long tights or long-ish shorts, and long or short sleeved tops. I bring both long and short sets with me for longer rides.

‘Drymax’ brand socks in crew length are made from a similar two-layer material and I carry three pair on trips.

Top Layer

I purchased a BMW TourShell jacket and pants soon after buying the motorcycle. At the time, BMW was running a $500 off promotion. I have been generally happy with the choice, except in warmer weather (> 85) when more venting would be useful, especially in the pants. The TourShell is a Cordura textile (not mesh) with GoreTex lining that has kept me dry in the rain (when I remember to close all the vents) and warm in the colder months, when you add the standard winter liner. For temperatures below 50, I’ll add a mid-layer (ex, sweater). I used the winter liner alone in the evenings and colder mornings as a stand-alone jacket. Be sure to bring a cap, too!

I wear a high-visibility vest most of the time over my jacket. I also wear a 2-liter Camelbak hydration bladder over that on longer trips. It is so convenient to drink from the tube, even when wearing a helmet – no need to stop!


I use a basic waterproof Tour Master Solution boot when riding. They are comfortable enough off the bike to wear in the evening and their style (basic black boot) looks good with jeans. Because space is limited, I chose to bring a pair of Skechers Journeyman Safaris River Sandal. They are good in the water, dry quickly, and pack into small spaces.

Each case and its gear
Each case and its gear

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